Chairperson’s Update 4-Feb-2021

Reflections of the last three months at Queensland Faith Communities Council (QFCC)

Farewell to 2 representatives of the QFCC Executive

This month we formally farewell 2 Executive representatives. One, the former Secretary of Queensland Churches Together (QCT) and the other, a member of the Islamic Council of Queensland (ICQ) and OAM recipient. I would like it noted that we have all benefited from their dedication, interfaith experience, and wisdom over the past 4 years of Queensland Faith Communities Council (QFCC) and for the many years of service before that. They will be missed.

I would also like to thank the 2nd Vice President of QCT who stepped in and attended all subsequent QFCC meetings. He was a good sounding board for challenges that arose at those meetings.

Welcome to 2 new representatives of the QFCC Executive

I would like to formally welcome to the Executive, President of the Islamic Council of Queensland and the new General Secretary of Queensland Churches Together.

Both gentlemen are well known in the interfaith world and we are extremely fortunate that we can now benefit from their wide experience. Welcome.

Closing of the Centre for Interfaith and Cultural Dialogue (CICD)

After the shock announcement from Griffith University late last year that they were closing the Centre for Interfaith and Cultural Dialogue (CICD) and not employing a Director as of January 01, 2021, we decided to have the current Director speak to our membership at our zoom AGM in November so that we could hear first-hand what had taken place.

Our membership passed a motion of concern (at the fourth AGM) at what was taking place and asked for a meeting with the Vice Chancellor and the Chancellor. Contact was made via email.

The press announced the closure of the CICD was to take place on the 11th December 2020.

A return email response was received from the Chancellor’s office on Saturday 12th December stating the Centre had been closed.

Farewell to the Director of the Centre for Interfaith and Cultural Dialogue

Griffith University hosted a ‘farewell’ for the Director if the CICD on 17 December. It was COVID-19 restricted to 50 people.

Thanks go to a member of the Multi-Faith Advisory and Action Group Inc. (MAAG) who sensitively MC’d the evening. It was a sad night. The Director of the Centre and his family were in attendance and speeches were made and we hoped that he would get a sense of strong support from all of us. Under normal conditions, I am confident that 3 times as many people would have attended the farewell.

I remain concerned that a building that was financially supported by individuals and organisations for the express purpose of a ‘multi faith’ building has been so silently absorbed by Griffith University into ‘student services’.

It may be possible that we are still able to use the space for meetings and gatherings, and this is something we need to explore once the university resumes.

The year ahead

As we start another year together, I want to remind you of the Principles of Interfaith Relationships from a parliament of religions document that was shared a few years ago. (Link)

I have paraphrased the article and will only mention the headings. Please re-read the article when you can as it is relevant to why we are all here:

  • Relationship building requires visiting each other (unfamiliarity breeds distrust)
  • Relationship requires learning about other’s history (particularly the history in our country)
  • Relationship requires an appreciation of the other (so we can understand how we have all built this country)
  • Relationship requires telling the truth (especially when it is difficult)
  • Relationships depend on living up to our core-theological principles and values (we must understand an attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths)
  • Relationships offer a clear-headed understanding of our enemies
  • Relationships help us overcome fear (faith dispels fear. Faith gives us power and love and a sound mind)
  • Relationship requires solidarity

Queensland Faith Communities Council